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Your Athlon set in silver

Product : Arctic Silver Thermal Compound
# Price : $14.00 from HighSpeedPC, 12 from Powercomputing
Available from : HighspeedPC & Powercomputing

Thermal grease has always been recommended for use with CPUs, but sometimes the compound you can get hold of isn't the best. Well here we have the best of the best. Silver as we all know is a very good conductor, and because the Arctic Silver compound has been engineered to conduct heat rather than electricity, it really showed us some good results in our rigs.

The common white thermal paste which most of us use is made up to silicon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, however the conductivity of silicon isn't as good as silver. This Arctic Silver compound is finally becoming available in numbers here in the UK, but is it really worth spending so much on thermal compound, after all we did say there was nothing wrong with the Silicon 'white stuff' that you can buy for a few pounds.

When put side by side to our trusty old silicon compound we saw a huge differance in both performance and amount supplied. The version of the compound we have here is the 'small contact area' one and since we couldn't find the large contact area version anywhere (both in the UK and in the US), we had to do the experiments with this. Our silicon compound tube had a net weight of 70 grams compared to the net weight of 6.5 for the Arctic Silver.

We applied it onto several different processors to see what temperature change it would cause and we were surprised to see a few things happen. The Arctic silver spreads very easily and evenly, and does not 'bulge' out of the sides of the heatsink like our silicon compound does/did. The silver compound was therefore much easier to 'mould' into a thin layer compared to the white, silicon goop. It is worth re-iterating that when using any thermal compound it is *better* to put a thin even layer of compound rather than a thick 'lumpy' one, simply because it will reduce heat transfer. The Arctic Silver compound is much easier to work with, although we were cautious so that any didn't go to waste (you see how money has an affect on us :)

In our experiments we tried it on an Athlon 550, and a Celeron 400 to see how this baby performed. On the Athlon we used our usual Globalwin VOS32 heatsink setup and on the Celeron 400 our favourite, Alpha's PAL6035. Both heatsink/fans turned out good previous reviews when using the white, silicon thermal compound, but how would they do with this, the expensive silver stuff.

Even though the results we got were our average over 3 tests results will vary with what heatsink and how much thermal compound you use, so please use the results as a guide rather than specific results you *will* obtain at home.